Volkswagen made the decision not to bring the regular 2020 Golf to the United States, which leaves this market solely with the four-door GTI and Golf R. Hot-hatch utility with front-wheel drive, or extra horsepower and all-wheel drive to keep up with those faster Audis. America will also need to wait until after 2022 for the electric VW hatchbacks, so for now, let’s focus on what we can learn from these Golf GTI spy shots:
Frankly, not a whole lot. Yes, you’ll get twin exhaust pipes as is tradition, along with modified bumpers, and of course, bigger wheels over bigger brakes. The previous-generation, Europe-only Golf GTI Clubsport S was a 305-horsepower affair, but the standard U.S. GTI came with 227 hp in Performance Pack guise. If the standard eighth-generation GTI is roughly as powerful as the previous Clubsport was at 261 horsepower, we will be happy campers.
As for the range-topping R, Jost Capito, head of VW's performance cars, already confirmed that while VW will produce GTI, GTD, TCR, GTE, and Golf R variants as well, the most powerful road car version will be tuned above 300 horsepower. That makes sense, given how the European Golf R had 296 hp up until now, with the 2.0-liter TSI in other regions possessing limited output (288 hp in America).
For the time being, just imagine this black prototype with a red stripe running through its grille. That’s your 2020 Golf GTI.